5 Things You Need to Do In Your Small Business Right Now

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on September 29, 2009 in: Branding, Business - Plain & Simple

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been hearing more and more about the potential for imminent economic recovery. It seems that economists and financial wizards are predicting that we’ll be out a recession soon (although “soon” is loosely defined). While that doesn’t mean that our businesses will be operating at the fever pitch we were operating at before recession, it does mean that hope is on the horizon and we can all breathe just a little easier.

It also means something else: It means NOW is the time to start building your business.

Why now to build your business?

Lots of entrepreneurs (especially ones who are moonlighting) wait until the economy is good before they take the risk and market their business. They want to see some immediate return on their investment and that’s more likely to happen when money is flowing. But smart entrepreneurs will start ramping up their business right now, while we haven’t yet recovered, so that they’ll be positioned in a much better way once recovery does occur.

Don’t wait until you’re in the busy midst of a strong economy to make changes to your business. Here are 5 things you need to do in your small business right now to put yourself on the right footing.

  1. Increase your marketing. Seriously think about doubling it if you can. Or, if that takes too much time and money, try to bump it up by at least a third. The investment you make now in your marketing will come back to you with a much higher return once the economy is better (in the same way that you might buy a house at a low price in a bad economy and sell it at a higher price in a better economy).
  2. Develop systems and best practices to automate your workload. It’s hard to create systems and best practices when you’re in a tornado of selling and customer fulfillment. But when things are quiet, this is the best time to develop and refine those processes. Then, when things pick up, you have everything in place already. It’s much easier to make small tweaks to existing processes when you’re busy than it is to try to create those processes from scratch.
  3. Improve your follow-up systems. New customers are great. Existing customers who come back and buy from you again are even better. They are more profitable for you. So you need to develop special programs and marketing efforts to reach out to those customers. Again, now is the time to do it when things are slow. You’ll be able to experiment with what works and what doesn’t. When things pick up, you’ll have a strong system of successful follow-up to generate more existing customer revenue.
  4. Clean up your files. When things get busy, piles start to form around the office: There’s a pile of bills to be paid. There’s a pile of receipts. There’s a pile of scrap papers full of ideas. There’s a pile of unsorted papers (which will go into other piles, won’t they?). Now is the time to get those in order. Redevelop your filing system so it’s usable for you. (Hint: if you have stuff in piles, your filing system is not usable). This is also a good time to think about doing the same for your bookkeeping.
  5. This is also a good time to do some product development. When things are busy, you don’t have a lot of time to put into new product development or into refining existing products. You’re too busy filling orders. So when things are slower, it’s time to increase the value of your existing products and it’s time to create new revenue generators.

If what the economists are saying is true, this is the calm before the storm. We might see a few more quiet months and then we should see some serious recovery. Take the time now to ramp up your business so that you’re ready to go when more people are buying.

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.